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Understanding Cultures ... Ramadan

For some time now Eagle's HR Director has been sending out awareness emails designed to educate us all a little about other cultures, religions and customs. In addition we will have "Diversity lunches" where sometimes we have staff bring in dishes relative to their background, or we will just share some information about different countries.

A little bit of knowledge and understanding can demystify other cultures and that helps us to have healthier relationships.

Today's email is focused on the Muslim celebration of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is a period of prayer, fasting and giving to charity for Muslims all over the world. It is expected to begin on or around August 11, 2010 and will finish on or around September 10, 2010. During the month, participating Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the person patience, sacrifice and humility. It is a time to fast for the sake of God and offer more prayer then usual. Ramadan is a time where Muslims ask for forgiveness for past sins and pray for guidance to help in refraining from every day evils.

As the start and end of the fast are related to sunrise and sunset, the times are different on each day of Ramadan. Regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of the day for Islamic holidays, which begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

The word Ramadan is derived from an Arabic word for intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of food and drink. It is considered to be the most holy and blessed month.